Some Heroes Wear Collars Instead Of Capes
How my dog saved my life
It was a perfectly normal evening. Everyone was asleep. I was writing. I was working on a pretty dramatic chapter of my novel when Dopey stuck his nose under my elbow.
Dog people know this is canine for “Pay attention to me.” I gave him a quick scratch behind his ears and went back to my writing.
He nosed me again.
This time I scratched his butt. You know, that spot right at the top of the tail? He loves that! His legs did a little happy dance as he tried to control the feeling. I went back to my writing.
He nosed me again.
I asked Dopey if he had to go potty; he spun in a circle. I got up to take him out, and Dopey ran into my room.
“Dopey, that’s not where you go, potty,” I said, confused. He spun in a circle. “What are you doing?” I asked him. He walked over to my nightstand and looked at the basket where I keep my medication.
“Let’s go out,” I insisted. He wasn’t having it. He continued to stare at the basket.
It started to hit me then, the dizzy, weak feeling that comes with low blood sugar.
I was diagnosed as type 1 diabetic right before I turned 4. Mom said I came home from the hospital on my uncle’s birthday, which was the beginning of August. I turned four at the end. I’m what they call a brittle diabetic. My sugars fluctuate wildly, sometimes for no reason. At the ripe old age of 40, I now have enough complications; managing a full-time job and taking care of my health is impossible. Dopey usually is sensitive to my fluctuations and keeps me company when I don’t feel well. At the time, he was sitting in my room staring at my blood sugar meter.
“Do I need this?” I asked Dopey as I picked up the machine’s case. He got up and did a little happy dance. I checked my blood sugar, and it was 62. That’s too low.
This dog went from sound asleep to sensing my blood sugar was dropping and seeking my attention, then telling me he knew what that little machine was and that I needed it.
I made a sandwich, and then I made him a small sandwich of his own. He was a good boy.
Dopey came to my roommate and me as a 14-week old puppy. He was wandering around my neighborhood by himself, wearing a cat collar that was much too small and dragging a ratty leash. I was with my roommate and his family at the time, and after getting him some water, we walked door to door around the neighborhood looking for anyone who might know something about the little guy. My roommate’s nephew and his wife decided if we couldn’t find his people, they wanted him but needed a foster until they were out on their own.
They decided he would have a Disney name. They started calling out to him by different character’s names, but the pup didn’t seem impressed. He wasn’t impressed, that is until they got to the dwarves.
Dopey’s ears have been the same size since he was a baby. As a pup, we thought maybe he would help the TV reception with them. The couple called out “Dopey,” the lovable big-eared dwarf. That’s when the pup turned around.
After knocking on dozens of doors, we found a neighbor who told us a car had pulled in about a week prior, tossed the pup out the door, and took off. The man had been leaving food out for the puppy to munch but couldn’t keep him.
It was becoming clear that I was about to be a foster parent.
I did my due diligence and posted on all the local sites, called the local vets, brought him into the vet. My older dog went to check for a microchip. No one was looking for this adorable puppy. I called animal control. They were not very optimistic about his fate; I wasn’t having that.
In the beginning, Dopey wouldn’t have anything to do with my roommate. He didn’t seem to be particularly fond of men. He was terrified to get in the car and even more apprehensive about getting out. He recoiled from any large object, and potty training was a nightmare. He developed two loves: My older dog and me. The other couple decided they wouldn’t be able to keep him after all. I was glad because I had already decided he was mine, so I adopted him.
Dopey will be 7 in a couple of months. He loves car rides, playing outside, butt scratches, and digging in the trash. He still cringes from loud noises and my cleaning utensils, but he will say hello to strangers now. He enjoys spending time with my roommate, but he is still my boy. He is also my hero.